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Policeman charged with DWI

October 6, 2011
Jenn Brookens - Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

MANKATO - Fairmont police officer Gene Austin faces third-degree driving while impaired charges in Blue Earth County.

Charges were filed Tuesday for a July 1 incident in which Austin wrecked his motorcycle east of Lake Crystal allegedly while he was intoxicated.

According to information from the Minnesota State Patrol:

Shortly before 2 p.m. July 1, the State Patrol received information of a motorcycle accident with injuries on Highway 60, near the intersection of Blue Earth County Road 112, on the east side of Lake Crystal.

When the State Patrol arrived on the scene, an ambulance was already en route to Mayo Health Systems in Mankato. The motorcycle involved was on its side blocking the westbound lanes of traffic. The injured motorcycle driver was later identified as Austin.

A witness following Austin said the motorcycle was weaving in its own lane of traffic before the crash, and it failed to stop at the stop sign at the railroad tracks. When the motorcycle went over the tracks, Austin lost control and the bike overturned. Austin was flung off of the motorcycle. He was not wearing a helmet.

A second trooper already at Mayo in Mankato was requested to make contact with Austin. The trooper confirmed the man was Austin, who was on a backboard and in a neck brace. The trooper noticed Austin smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot and glassy eyes. A preliminary breath test the trooper administered registered at 0.271, more than three time the legal limit. Austin then submitted to a blood test.

The results recently became available from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The test showed Austin's blood-alcohol level was 0.27.

Austin remains on duty with the Fairmont Police Department and no disciplinary action is expected to be taken unless he is convicted. He has been with the Fairmont Police Department since 1990.

Austin's first court appearance is Oct. 20.



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